The cyber-attacks on Vietnam's two major airports have affected more than 100 flights, dozens of which were delayed for up to one hour, the country's aviation authorities said.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said in a press release Saturday that it has ordered other airports across Vietnam to tighten aviation security after hackers targeted computers systems at the airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The computer systems at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City were hacked at 1.46 p.m., and Hanoi's Noi Bai airport at 4.07 p.m..
The hackers, allegedly from China, took control of the flight information screens and displayed distorted information about the East Sea (South China Sea) and insulted Vietnam and the Philippines, according to authorities.
However, they were unable to break into the search and ticket-booking system, according to Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat.
The flight operations and security systems at the airports still worked normally, he said.
In its press release, CAAV said the attacks interrupted the airports’ electronic check-in systems, so check-in procedures were handled manually, leading to multiple flight delays.
Shortly after the attacks, the CAAV and the National Civil Aviation Security Committee ordered the northern and southern airports authorities, along with relevant sides, to work with security departments of the Ministry of Public Security to handle the incident.
Alleged Chinese hackers
The website of Vietnam Airlines, the national flag carrier, was also hacked and defaced for a few hours on Friday afternoon. A list of more than 400,000 members of the airline's frequent flyer program was stolen and leaked on the Internet.
The website of Vietnam Airlines was defaced on Friday, displaying a logo of 1937cN, a Chinese hacker group.
The cyber-attacks, arguably the most serious so far in Vietnam, were carried out a few weeks after an international tribunal issued a ruling in favor of the Philippines that invalidated China's claims in the East Sea.
1937cN teAm, one of the best-known and most powerful hacker groups in China, has been alleged of carrying the attacks as its logo appeared on the hacked screen.
The group is known for having targeted many websites in Vietnam for the past years.
However, the group said in a statement on its website on Saturday that it is "irrational, unscientific" to blame China on the hacking incident.